Gender Disparities Exist in Diabetes Mortality Rates
The mortality rate for U.S. men with diabetes largely decreased from the early 1970s to 2000, but the rate for women with the disease increased during the same period, according to a study published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Reuters/Boston Globe reports.
For the study, researchers at CDC tracked about 27,000 men and women ages 35 to 74 during three time periods between 1971 and 2000. The average annual mortality rate from all causes among men with diabetes decreased from 42.6 deaths per 1,000 during the 1971-1986 period to 24.4 deaths per 1,000 during the 1988-2000 period, the study found.
Among women with diabetes, the mortality rate from all causes increased from 18.4 deaths per 1,000 during the 1971-1986 period to 25.9 deaths per 1,000 during 1988-2000 period, the study found. During the 1976-1992 period, the mortality rate from all causes among women with diabetes was 15.1 deaths per 1,000, according to the study (Dunham, Reuters/Boston Globe, 6/19).
The study did not determine the causes for disparities in mortality rates among men and women with diabetes.
In an editorial that accompanied the study, Emory University cardiologist Nanette Wenger attributed the disparities in part to differences in heart disease treatment among men and women with diabetes.
According to Wenger, women with diabetes are less likely than men with the disease to receive aggressive treatment for heart disease. Women with diabetes are diagnosed with heart disease later, receive less preventive care and are less likely to receive appropriate treatment for high cholesterol than men with diabetes, Wenger wrote (Manning, USA Today, 6/19).
American Diabetes Association President Larry Deeb said, "We were aggressive in men. We made them take aspirin, we made them exercise, we checked their blood pressure and cholesterol -- and it paid off. ... We have medicines that work. Maybe we haven't been giving them to women." Deeb said that women should not "accept that your blood sugar is 10 or 15% too high."
He added, "Don't accept that your blood pressure is almost controlled. Don't accept that your cholesterol is almost low enough. You want your numbers to be as good as they can get" (Peres, Chicago Tribune, 6/19). The study is available online.
A separate study published on Monday in the journal Circulation found that patients with pre-diabetes are nearly as likely to die from heart disease as those with diabetes.
For the study, Australian researchers over five years tracked 10,428 adults in five categories: those with normal blood sugar levels; those who have begun to receive treatment for diabetes; those with recently diagnosed cases of diabetes; those with impaired fasting glucose, an indicator of pre-diabetes; and those with impaired glucose tolerance, also an indicator of pre-diabetes.
According to the study, participants with mildly elevated blood sugar levels had a 2.5% increased risk for death from heart disease, compared with a 2.6% increased risk for those with diabetes (Washington Post, 6/19).